What is business change?

What business change is

Business change is a recognised professional discipline that ensures people understand the impact of change and can adjust to it successfully.

At a high level, it involves these types of activity:

  • Communication and engagement
  • Stakeholder analysis and management
  • Change impact assessment
  • Training and readiness
  • Embedding and reinforcing new ways of working

What business change isn’t

Some people think the purpose of business change is to persuade people to support a change – either by gentle coaxing, or by corporate force.

It’s not. Change is expensive and disruptive, and your best chance for success is by providing clear instructions on what people need to do differently, and why.

Business change is about using specific tactics to ensure change doesn’t cost
more money, more time, or more human anxiety than it needs to.

Business change matters; the statistics speak for themselves.

“A third of major government projects due to deliver in the next five years are rated as in doubt or unachievable unless action is taken.”

Reasons NAO gave included:

– Failure to assess impact on stakeholders
– Shortages of skills in behaviour change
– Lack of clear, consistent benefits realisation

One toolkit: all kinds of change.

Agile? Waterfall? It doesn’t matter.

Traditional business change theories will tell you that every organisation is unique and that business change happens differently every time.
Here at Change in Practice, our business change specialists have worked in this field for many years, and we’ve learned that business change can be applied consistently and methodically to most projects, programmes, and transformations.

We have five practical modules with ready-made templates, plans and guidance – all the essentials you need to reduce the time and effort it takes to ensure people are ready to adopt complex changes.

Module 1: Communication
Module 2: Engagement
Module 3: Change impact assessment
Module 4: Training
Module: 5: Embedding change

The ‘Business Change in Box’ method has been tried and tested in complex change environments with superb results. It provides a consistent approach to business change and is proven to significantly improve the chance of on-time, on-budget delivery.

The model can be applied to both ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Agile’ projects, and activities can be baked into any project or programme plan.

Business Change in a Box: a straight-talking step-by-step method

What are the risks of not doing business change properly?

Delays, escalating costs, and reputational damage – every project manager needs to consider if they can afford to take short cuts when it comes to preparing people for change. Below are the risks you’ll face if you don’t incorporate business change into your project plan.

Your stakeholders don’t think you can be trusted to deliver:

    •   they become anxious things aren’t under control and start to disrupt your progress
    •   you suffer reputational damage and reduced customer confidence

You break business operations:

    •   if you underestimate the impact of the change, it’s easy to cause major disruption
    •   “this isn’t working for me…” – if the change isn’t fit for purpose, people will revert to old ways of working

You need to find more money….

    •   if the business pauses or blocks delivery, your costs will start to increase
    •   if staff don’t adopt the changes properly, you won’t get your return on investment

What are the outcomes of effective business change?

Business change helps ‘clear the path’ to delivery and ensure a smooth transition. It enables you to identify how the change affects different groups of stakeholders and ensures people are ready to adopt the change.

On a practical level this means:

    •   people have a clear understanding of how the change affects the way they work
    •   everyone receives the right level of training and guidance

On a cultural level this means:

    •   people understand the benefits to them and the organisation
    •   the change is perceived as an important thing

On a financial level this means:

    •   no delays are accrued due to lack of stakeholder readiness or buy-in
    •   the benefits of making the change are fully realised

Business Change in a Box makes all this easier – subscribe to individual modules, or buy the full toolkit.